Mixed bags and toothy terrors
  |  First Published: March 2015

Everyone has been asking where has summer gone, especially after all the dire predictions of a long hot season, but not a great deal has happened.

Wonthaggi angler Steve Pool and son Bailey don’t really mind though, as they are out and about all year round and will always come home with something to show for their efforts. Shortly before this report, they decided to try their luck and targeted bream.

This proved to be a good choice and after pumping bait, headed to a favourite estuary where they bagged some very impressive bream that were well over the 1.5kg mark. Steve said that they lost count of what they caught, only keeping what they needed and threw the rest back to swim and fight another day.

I have received many other reports of estuary fish being bagged, mainly by land-based anglers where baits such as worms, Bass and fresh water yabbies as well as a variety of lures, which include soft plastics have been successful. Of course, at times there can be a fair wait between enquiries but this is the case in all forms of fishing. If we were to be successful all the time it could be too predictable.

Even though the fishing conditions have not been all that great there have been very good results both inside and outside the entrance. Out wide there have been very good numbers of gummies being taken with squid and pilchards.

In the same area there are quality snapper also being bagged and they have been with schools of salmon, which are making the effort well worthwhile.

There has been a few makos turning up but these are fish that can be very dangerous, as can most toothies. These are particularly dangerous and will circle a boat. Being on average around the 3.1m mark and weighing around the 135kg mark, this has the effect of making occupants a bit on the nervous side! Having said that, they have a pink flesh, which turns white on being cooked and has a delicious flavour.

Still outside, there are very good numbers of whiting being caught where locals such as Dino Tiziani seldom misses out as he has been fishing the area for many years. Dino likes to collect his own bait, which means that it is also fresh and is a huge advantage.

As well as whiting in the same area, there are also very good size flathead and silvers as well as garfish that will take baits such as pipis and gents.

Paul Olden and crew decided to try their luck out from Inverloch and managed some very nice size gummies as well as school sharks on pilchards. There have been other positive reports from this area and no doubt the good news will continue when conditions permit.

Inside, the entrance boaters and land-based anglers are happy with their returns but there have been plenty of those awful easterly winds, which have been making things a bit on the difficult side. Having said all that, there have been positive results with good size whiting to the 36cm mark being caught near the entrance by boaters at low water on both sides of the tide. On calm days, some boats have been crossing the bar to get outside where there have been positive reports but this can be dangerous, even for those with experiences. I keep on harping on about safety but make no apology, as safety on the water cannot be over-emphasized. The biggest bag of fish is not worth putting yours or anyone else’s safety in danger.

A bit further up the inlet near Pensioners Corner, the fishing has also been very productive. I have visited the area on a regular basis at low water and come across a variety of land-based fishers trying their luck. Gavin Hardy had a few spare hours on a Sunday evening and decided to wet a line and as it turned out, so too did quite a few others as the conditions were perfect on a warm and balmy evening. It seems that they had all picked the right time and place as just about everyone was catching whiting that were all around the 34cm mark on just about any sort of bait. I watched for about half an hour and spoke to quite a few of those present. They were all visitors and amazed at the quantity and quality of fish, especially the whiting even though there was a sprinkling of fish such as mullet and reasonable size silvers. I explained that this was great to see them doing so well and wished them all the best.

All the way up the inlet as far as the Double Islands, the fishing has been productive when conditions have allowed. There has been the usual variety of bags, which is encouraging and it seems that according to the fisheries officers, most people have been doing the right thing. They say that for those who want to cheat, the penalties are severe and include heavy fines plus confiscation of gear, boats and vehicles. This could mean a long walk home, which makes a severe penalty for those who want to take the risk keeping undersize fish or similar breaches of regulations.

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